Author Archives: George Simmers

After many years as a teacher, I retired and began researching for a Ph.D. on the fiction of the Great War – especially the books, stories and plays that were written during the War or immediately afterwards.

T.F.?

At the National Archives last weekend, I did a little more research on my grandfather, and will post about it soon. Meanwhile, I am puzzled by an abbreviation in the London Gazette : What does T.F. mean? I bet there’s someone out there who knows.

Arnold Bennett, and the English and the French

I spent Saturday at the National Archives in Kew, taking a look at, among other things, Arnold Bennett’s activities when in charge of British propaganda to France in 1917-1918. Bennett’s notes and memos are rather impressive – crisp, sensible and decisive – as he deals with a multitude of issues.

The Whicharts and the War

I’ve just blogged on the Reading 1900-1950 site a review of The Whicharts (1931), Noel Streatfeild’s first novel (and a prototype, grown-up and slightly seedy version of Ballet Shoes).  here I’ll just add a couple of notes about Streatfeild’s mentions of the Great War in this book.

We all live at Number 24

I’m reading Ernest Raymond’s The Jesting Army (1930). The army   is near Gilban (in Egypt), heading towards the Battle of Romani (August 1916). The soldiers are singing: …certainly not Tipperary, which had been discarded immediately the newspapers made it into the Soldiers’ Song [….] but in high chorus they invited someone to wash them […]

A decade of blogging

I woke this morning to an email congratulating me to the fact that this blog is ten years old today. I really hadn’t realised. Occasionally I get fed up with commemorations and anniversaries, but here is one that I suppose I ought to mark. Ten Years. Quite a while.

Arnold Bennett on the House of Windsor

I spent yesterday at the Manchester Central Reference Library (where I enjoyed many hours when I was a student in Manchester during the 1960s). I was looking at wartime copies of the New Statesman, and especially at Arnold Bennett’s column ‘Observations’, which he wrote over the pen-name ‘Sardonyx’. The columns are gossipy and lively, and […]

Lake Rudyard – the Geneva of the Potteries

The two writers I’ve been thinking about this year are Rudyard Kipling and Arnold Bennett. So I was delighted to come across a BBC web feature that links the two. It’s about Lake Rudyard, a popular beauty spot in the Potteries, and if you like Bennett’s novels you’ll enjoy the photos of pleasure seekers who […]

Soldiers singing, at the end of the war

Last year I was working on a chapter about soldiers songs for the forthcoming Edinburgh Companion on the First World War and the Arts. Yesterday I came across a paragraph that I wish I’d seen before  finishing the chapter. It’s from the New Statesman, October 19, 1918:

The Oxford Vigilance Committee

I’ve recently been thinking a lot about Arnold Bennett’s novel about wartime prostitution, The Pretty Lady, so was delighted to come across a webpage referencing the November 1916 Oxford Vigilance Committee, and its report on the immorality of wartime Oxford. The committee sees prostitution as a ‘permanent social disease’, but the war is creating conditions […]

English Words in Wartime

Readers of this blog may also be interested in ‘English Words in Wartime’, a blog that looks at ways in which the Great War changed the language. It looks especially at the words noted by that splendid diarist the Rev Andrew Clark, who set himself to describing the effects of war on everyday life, and […]

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